Monthly Archives: August 2008

Shoe of The Month – Circa Joan & David

SF brought in this fabulous shoe today. A cross between a gladiator sandal upper and the classic T-strap, make this shoe the one to beat for keeping your foot from sliding forward.

The outside strap is also adjustable ensuring snug fit at the ankle. Although you may not be able to find this exact shoe, these features can be found on many heels, and would be worth looking for.

Cycling Shoes – Bunions

If you have a bunion, finding a cycling shoe that’s wide enough can be a challenge, especially if the rest of your foot isn’t wide. One solution is to find a shoe with mesh over the bunion which will be more forgiving than leather or vinyl trim. The image below shows an older model Pearl Izumi shoe which had trim over the bunion, making the shoe too tight.

In this case, the simple solution was cutting away the trim in the area of the bunion, to expose the mesh. This allows for expansion of the forefoot without compromising the rest of the shoe fit.

Shoe Review – Nike Air Equalon +2

Nike Air Equalon +2 is a great shoe if you have bunions. Notice the mesh over the widest part of the foot? It also has a firm heel counter and firm EVA for stability. It’s shallow, but not narrow, so if you have a narrow foot, this shoe may not work for you. For everyone else, it’s a great shoe.

Runners Toenails

Many people have a long 2nd toe. In runners, a long 2nd toe can cause repetitive trauma to the toenail, resulting in a thick, protruding toenail This happens especially when running down hills.

If you are a runner and your toenail looks thick like this, you will only make matters worse if you ignore it. Thick nails always have to be treated, otherwise your nails will become permanently deformed.

If your nails are thick, go straight to your nearest podiatrist and have them thinned. The procedure is painless and will make all the difference in appearance and comfort. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the red in the above image is residual polish, not blood. The white appearing adjacent toenails have a surface type of fungus, primarily due to polish, and easily filed off.

Shoe Review – Nike Air Max Assail Trail

Finding a trail shoe for a narrow foot is not an easy task. The Nike Air Max Assail Trail fits the bill even though it’s listed as a D-Medium width and not narrow. An added plus is torsionally stability (no side-to-side twist) and an inflexible, thick, shock absorptive sole. This can help alleviate ball of the foot pain. It will also accommodate an orthotic which is great.

Shoe Review – Saucony ProGrid Hurricane 9 vs. 10

Here’s another example of a version change. As you can see below the Hurricane 10 is much shallower or as I prefer to describe it more fitted than the 9.

It’s also got a more proportional toe box, so if your heel to ball is sized 8 and your heel to toe is sized 8, your foot will fit nicely in this shoe. On the other hand if your heel to ball is an 8 and your heel to toe is a 7, you’ll do better in the Hurricane 9 as the Hurricane 10 may have too much toe box room.

Now let’s look at the width.

The Hurricane 10 is slightly more tapered on the inside which is good if you have a narrow foot. On the other hand, the Hurricane 9 is much boxier over the instep and arch, typically better for a wider foot.

Also notice the flex grooves. The Hurricane 9 is going to be more flexible in the forefoot, due to the grooves going fully across the forefoot. The Hurricane 10 is going to be less flexible. What does this mean? If you get ball of the foot pain you’ll probably be better off with the 10.

Since the Hurricane 9 is on it’s way out, if this is a good fit for you, then the 10 probably won’t be. However, it you haven’t tried the 10, then this is a great shoe for a lower volume foot.

Skating Boots – Modifications

This is the same roller derby boot as my earlier post.

These principles would work for any sport boot including hockey, figure skating and roller blading.

Although the modified lacing I previously blogged about helped, it wasn’t enough to alleviate all the outside of the foot pain, so I added permanent padding on the inside of the boot to off-weight the painful prominences and it worked like a charm.

Just because a boot isn’t custom, it doesn’t mean you can’t customize the fit. All you need is a creative shoe repair person and you should be fine.

Women’s Asics 2130 – Updated Colors

Women’s Asics 2130 is one of my favorite shoes. It works for narrow and wide feet, which are shallow in depth. It’s not quite as narrow as the now discontinued 2120 but it does come in a 2A width which is great.

Recently (7/08), Asics released new colors of the 2130 which is good or bad depending on what you’re looking for. The new version is slightly narrower and a 1/2 size shorter, than the older models. The new colors can be found on, in Black/Platinum/Cherry and Storm/Lightening/Hot Pink, which is the shoe below.

If you’re wearing the old version and purchase one of the newer colors of this shoe, carefully compare it to your existing fit. You may need to go up in size or width to get the same fit.

Anatomy Of A Shoe – What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You

Important to the understanding of footwear and footwear function is the understanding of construction, or in this case – footwear anatomy. What follows is basic shoe anatomy. Instead of listing all parts of the shoe (welting, foxing etc), I have instead tried to convey a general overview, especially as it relates to the foot and more specifically, foot pain.

The anatomy of a shoe can easily be divided into two parts; the top 1/2 of the shoe is the Upper and the bottom 1/2 of the shoe is the Lower. These images show the main parts of the upper.

  • Toe Box – Area overlying the toes. Think of this area in terms of depth. The deeper the toe box, the more room your toes have. This is important if you have hammertoes or other top of the toe irritation or pain.
  • Vamp – This part of the shoe covers your arch. This section is a bridge between the toe box and the opening of the shoe or topline. You want the vamp of your shoe to fit snug. Too loose and heel slippage occurs, too tight and numbness in the toes can occur.
  • Counter – The back part of the upper which wraps around either side of the heel. The counter can be soft (collapsible) or stiff (non-collapsible). Stiff counters are usually better if your foot pronates a lot or your foot collapses immediately after heel strike.

The lower is what your foot rests on and includes the insole, shank, midsole, outsole and heel.

  • Insole – The insole is the foundation of the shoe. The upper is wrapped around the insole, the metal shank is riveted on the underside of the insole and outsoles, midsoles and heels are added as well.
  • In running shoes, this is oftentimes referred to as the lasting method. Cardboard lasted uses a cardboard insole, whereas slip-lasted uses cloth. A combination last combines both cardboard and cloth.
  • The softer the insole, the less torsional stability (lengthwise twist) the shoe will have. The firmer the insole (cardboard) the more structure and stability the shoe will have. Pronators or people whose feet collapse excessively, typically want a cardboard last.
  • Midsole and Outsole – Used to give a shoe more cushion and shock absorption. Running shoes almost always have a thick midsole. I’ve talked about EVA midsoles in other posts, suffice it to say the firmer the midsole, the stiffer and longer lasting the shoe. Soft midsoles on the other hand help with shock absorption, but wear out more quickly. Here are some related posts on running shoe midsoles

  • Sock Liner – Usually removable and rests on the insole. Many people confuse the sock liner with the insole. The sock liner serves a cushioning function, whereas the insole provides a structural one
If you are having foot pain, it will help to match your anatomy to your shoes anatomy or at least think about how a shoe is made, before you buy next time.

Shoe Review – Adidas Terrex Low Hiking Shoe

Narrow, shallow hiking boots are usually difficult to find. The Adidas Terrex Low Hiker is a perfect match to this foot type. It is torsionally stable (doesn’t twist) and has an inflexible forefoot sole which you want, especially when hiking on irregular terrain.

Here is what the Adidas Terrex looks like from the top and side views.

The following images compare the Adidas Terrex on the left with the wider North Face Furry, Gore-Tex, XCR on the right. Notice the difference between the outsole width. The Adidas is much narrower and shallower than the North Face.

The Adidas laces also extend closer to the toes, which provides more adjustability in the forefoot width than the North Face.

If you have a narrow foot and need a great lightweight low top hiker, then this shoe may just be for you.

Body Language Interview – Head to Toe

My public radio interview went live today on You can hear the interview with show host Chris Springmann at – Show 5, Head To Toe, segment four, right after the vet interview. I would love to hear what you think!

Skating Pain – Bay Area Roller Derby Girls

Today, one of the Bay Area Roller Derby Girls (B.A.D.) came in having outside of the foot pain and swelling, primarily in her new boots. The pain was partially due to the motion of skating (push off) and partially due to boot forefoot compression and tightness because the outside of her foot was enlarged in this area.

A simple fix is to modify the laces. Whenever a shoe laces, you can always skip the eyelets to increase forefoot width as above. Here are some other posts where I blog about lacing modifications.

Modifications Part 2 can be found at: